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Research Data Management

Research Data Management

Data Management Planning, how to manage your research throughout your project and beyond

A Data Management Plan [DMP] is a living document that plans for how you will collect, manage, store, use, contextualise and preserve your research data. A DMP will not only help you to ensure General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) compliance, but will also provide clarity around issues, such as ownership of data and help you to recover data after a loss, or even prevent the loss from occurring. Research data is a valuable asset and many funders and publishers require data to be made open or shared, so writing a good data management plan and reviewing it regularly will enable researchers to comply with these requirements.

Planning at an early stage can help you make the right decisions about collecting, storing and sharing your data. Planning can also help you reduce the risk of data loss, inappropriate disclosure and failure to comply with funder open access requirements. You may need to consider:

  • what data will be collected (e.g., data type, format, volume)
  • how metadata and documentation will be generated, kept and disseminated
  • how the data will be stored securely during the lifetime of the project
  • what ethical and legal restrictions apply to the data, e.g., confidentiality, IPR
  • how it will be preserved and shared after the project has ended

Data Management Plans: where to begin

PGRs are required to complete a DMP as part of the RDC.1 approval process.  The plan must be uploaded to GradBook as part of this process.  

In addition to the support on these webpages, the Researcher Development Programme DLE site contains examples of DMPs plus the recorded training session and slides introducing PGRs to RDM

You will need to attach your completed DMP to your ethical approval application.  (PEOS advice webpages)

The University will contact users of JISC Online Surveys within 3 months of account set up to request sight of your DMP.  However, if you have already applied for ethics approval via PEOS and have quoted your project number at the time of requesting access to JISC Online Surveys, then you will not be asked to submit the DMP again.  See the University's JISC Online Surveys advice for more information and exceptions.

The UK's Digital Curation Centre has an excellent online template tool (DMP Online) with prompts to guide you through completion.  It also contains up to date funding body required templates and has a bank of public DMPs to view.  More information can be found on the DMPOnline page in this guide and you can use our University of Plymouth instance of DMPOnline here:DMP Online Tool

The Doctoral College's Researcher Development Programme on the DLE has a few examples for PGR use.  You can also view shared DMPs via the DMP Online tool from the DCC. Alternatively, the DCC has a list of sample plans on their web pages from different funders, including some 'bad' examples with comments on this page